Parents should know their role during games

By Jon Buzby | Posted 3/22/2019

In youth sports, it’s usually pretty easy for parents to access their kids during halftime at games. However, easy access doesn’t mean parents should be interacting with their kid during this time any more than they should when their child is sitting on the bench waiting to go into the game.

I’ve seen these types of interactions during games at all levels of youth sports, but a high school coach would never allow it to happen – and a youth coach shouldn’t either.

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Why not?  

In these situations, parents are most likely giving their child advice for the second half, with no idea what the head coach discussed as the team strategies for the rest of the game. This can create confusion for a child, not knowing whether to follow the coach’s directions or mom or dad’s advice. It’s not much different than when a teacher requires a math homework to be done a certain way, but a parent helping with homework shows them a way that they used in school. If a teacher is looking for specific work, that child won’t get credit using their parent’s strategy.

There are some cases when a parent might need to talk to their child at halftime, usually involving health or injury issues. Even then, before interacting with them, the parent should walk over to the coach and ask permission to step onto the field or call their child over to the sideline.

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The time to stop talking to your child at the game begins as soon as warmups start and doesn’t end until the postgame huddle concludes.

This rule of thumb isn’t about taking youth sports too seriously. Instead, it’s about understanding our roles as parents and showing coaches the respect they deserve.  

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.